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Month: April 2016

I Tried Being a Celtic’s Fan — A Girlfriend’s Take on the Playoffs

I Tried Being a Celtic’s Fan — A Girlfriend’s Take on the Playoffs

(Editor’s Note (and foreword): So, I was watching the Celtics at 5 pm pacific standard time the other night, screaming at the TV and getting moody when Evan Turner shoots a 3… and she was just staring at me. I, then, get this story below in my email the next day at random. Little does she know, the minor details of this story actually really sum up both the Celtic’s team this season and what it’s like to be a Boston fan in general.)


 

I was born and raised in Los Angeles and have always considered myself a sports fan. This stems from the fact that I used to wake up everyday before school around the same time my dad was leaving for work. Naturally, we watched SportsCenter together over my bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and his cup of coffee. With this excellent form of upbringing, I would say I’m well-versed for a girl in the sports community.

Unfortunately for my fandom, this upbringing also means that I have never really had a set team. Because, like my father, I just enjoy a good game. Therefore, I am a “Lakers fan,” a “Dodgers fan,” a Kings fan (that one I actually am), and I guess now a “Rams fan.” Go Jared Goff?!?

California’s Jared Goff poses for photos after being selected by the Los Angeles Rams as the first pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL football draft, Thursday, April 28, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

It has always been my mindset to sit down and enjoy a good game, and if a Los Angeles team is playing, I root for them. Conversely, my boyfriend, who is a diehard Boston fan in all realms, makes sure to watch every minute of every game that any New England team is playing in. I have one general rule of thumb: if I know the guy’s name, he’s probably pretty frickin good. Which is fascinating… because I didn’t know a single Celtic’s player name but I was told they are “really good.”

I’m not sure what is worse right now; being a temporary Celtics fan and have “my” team out of the playoffs, or being the girlfriend of a real Celtics fan and having him mope around.

This Celtics playoff series was a rollercoaster of emotions for my diehard Boston fan. I saw the gritty, never-give-up C’s defense comeback at home from a 2-0 deficit. I saw Marcus Smart work his ass off against a guy 4 inches taller than him. I saw Isaiah Thomas score a career-high 42 points in Game 3 to keep the hope alive for the Celtics (I only know it was a career-high because of the update I get after every game from the walking talking breathing almanac I date). And I saw Brad Stevens manipulate his lineup in a way that validates he has a shot at winning Coach of the Year in the future.

In the end, pretending to be a Boston fan isn’t so bad. At least Boston fans bleed for their teams. I’d rather be a diehard than a fan who next year says “Oh the Lakers are playing? Man, I miss Kobe.”

The Celtics may be out of the playoffs, but I heard the Sox are putting up some yahdos. Brady may be suspended four games, but at least you still have Jimmy.

jimmy

(God… he’s so beautiful)

Yeah, you know what, I think I can get used to this New England sports thing.

by Aly

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Late Nights, Ex-Girlfriends, and Toronto – Drake Keeps the Safe, Winning Formula Together on “VIEWS”

Late Nights, Ex-Girlfriends, and Toronto – Drake Keeps the Safe, Winning Formula Together on “VIEWS”

People freaking LOVE to hate Drake.  It has become one of pop culture’s favorite past times.  There is plenty to poke at – I get it.  The front-runner sports fan; the “started from the bottom” image that allegedly may not be the full story; all of it.  Some of the criticism is warranted, but not all of it.  Most of all, the knock on him for only making songs for women is the most puzzling.  Has you ever heard of a guy named LL Cool J?  Okay, just checking, because here we are two decades later, hailing LL as one of the best emcees to ever pick up a mic.  Making songs for women sells records – don’t hate the player, hate the game.  Who knows what history will do to October’s Very own, the 6 God, Toronto’s own Aubrey “Drake” Graham.

Drake has made a valiant effort to build on his monumental image in the game this week, with the release of his sixth album (fifth if you don’t want to count What a Time to be Alive, or fourth/fifth depending on if you call What a Time and If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late “mixtapes,” or seventh if you call So Far Gone-you know what, he just has a confusing discography).  This newest album, VIEWS (previously named Views from the Six) has been marketed as Drake’s open love letter to Toronto – the city that raised him.  And that “songs for women” negative connotation comes back around with this release’s much heavier reliance on singing rather than rapping.

The hype behind this album has been the largest I have seen since Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly, and the jury is still out on whether it will live up to it.  VIEWS is good – some would say very good – but for an album release that us fans have been drooling over, it wasn’t the perfect 10/10 we wanted.  To me, that’s okay, because I don’t expect Drake to ever drop a life-altering album.  His impact on the game has been in the form of a slow burn over the last 5-6 years, rather than a flash in the pan with an instant classic (I will reserve my Take Care = classic discussion for now.  That album just does things for me, man).

Everyone I have talked to or read about online seems to have a different complaint about the album.  Not enough “bangers” (sidenote: people who use this word in serious hip hop discussions are the WORST); too much singing; just rapping about women again; the first part of the album is better; the second part of the album is better; it’s too long; the features are average; and on and on and on and on.  Whatever – form your own opinion.  When a name this large releases a project, there has to be some way to pick it apart and be critical of it.  Not sure how much merit some of these complaints really carry, but c’est la vie.

This 20-track adventure through Drake’s city, in what sonically seems like a changing of the seasons, with the first track beginning in the dead of winter, and the smash hit “Hotline Bling” rounding us out at track 20 with the hot heat of July 4th weekend, VIEWS is Drake just as advertised – the braggadocio, then the vulnerability and sorrow, then back to the top of the world, all packed into one album.

No one is better than Drake at getting you to run to your balcony and shout out to the world that you are the man and you love your life, and then five minutes later you’re on your ex’s Instagram thinking “I’m just curious what they been up to.”  And he does it not just within an album, but sometimes within one single song.  I’m serious.  Take cover before you throw on “Redemption.”  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  The variety of delivery is here on VIEWS as well – he does it with the choppy, one-line-at-a-time-then-big-pause flows followed right up by his melodies that have reinvented the entire genre.  Or, if you are the New York Times, just say that Drake has made his own genre – you wouldn’t be that far off.

Drake seemed to make a conscious effort to move away from the If You’re Reading This and What a Time to Be Alive rapping that dominated 2015.  VIEWS is peppered with crooning that is reminiscent of the So Far Gone mixtape days, however it is executed much smoother than in past releases.  I actually think Drake’s singing has improved much more than his rapping throughout his reign on top, which is now coming into the second half of a decade.  He is trying new things with his voice, like on the back half of the track “U With Me?” where we actually get some shouting in his voice that typically doesn’t come with Drake sing-alongs.

I thought it would take a lot for Drake to top the production in 2013’s Nothing Was the Same, but VIEWS tops it, and then some.  The production on this project was a major highlight for me, obviously spearheaded by Drake’s partner-in-crime, Noah “40” Shebib.  No one in the rap game is better at doing the most with less right now than 40.  40 is hypnotic with his hazy drum beats, filled in with his own piano skills, and topped off with a little reverb-sort of(?) that makes the music feel almost hollow.  Also, the way he uses samples drowned out in the background of a track makes you feel like it wasn’t even part of the track, only to find you humming some old loop from a Brandy song from the 90s later on (remember her?).  40 is one of my favorites in the game, and there’s only one voice I like laced over his tracks – Drake himself.

Drake and 40 from years back.

With a 20-track release, there unfortunately is a good chance that you end up with some missed tracks.  There are some that are forgettable, but the highs on the album make you forget tracks like “Child’s Play.”  After an underwhelming opening track, “Keep the Family Close,” VIEWS hits a STRONG four-track run from “9” to “Weston Road Flows.”  “Weston Road” would have to stand in as the theme song of this album, with 4+ minutes of Drake going bar after bar, telling us about where he’s from, where he is now, and then he also is considerate enough to tell us when he plans on retiring in the future – doubt that will hold up.  It boasts Drake’s songwriting* ability (f*** Meek Mill) and encapsulates what Drake was looking for in his Toronto-themed release.

Other than “Weston Road,” though, there seems to be something lacking on the Toronto theme.  In a generally positive review of the album I guess I can lace in some critiques: (1) STOP taking 3-second breaks after every bar, dude.  Just flow.  Sounds way to choppy and frankly, not great. But on to (2) I was hoping for more Toronto.  This whole “6 God” mantra has taken form in the last couple years or so, and I wanted to hear exactly why Drake feels this way.  The subject matter was more of the same from Drake, and I wish he was a little more daring on the subject matter – give me more Toronto.

The radio smash hits off this album are going to all be coming out of the same group of tracks with a common theme.  We have already heard “Hotline Bling,” and “One Dance” is starting to make waves, but “Controlla” and “Too Good” will not be far behind.  And they all take on this island vibe that one would NOT expect out of a winter-in-Ontario album.  It was like Drake spent some time writing in The 6 and took off for the Virgin Islands for a couple weeks to bang these tracks out.  And they WORK.  When Drake and Rihanna get together, it is always perfect for a dance floor, and “Too Good” doesn’t fail at all.  Sidenote: since I’ve been the guy writing about 2016 album releases on this site, Rihanna’s ANTI might be one of the best out at the moment.  Cop it.

Rihanna drake dancing music video work

That’s Rihanna. She’s popular.

VIEWS sort of has its own lane, compared to other Drake releases.  It’s not nearly as much rapping as Drake of 2015 (What a Time and If You’re Reading This), and the song topics are not as petty as Take Care.  It is actually mature for Drake, with the exception of one “what are thoooose?” jokes and yet another unnecessary dig at Meek Mill on “Hype.”  I’m not going to try and rank Drake releases, but you can if you want to.  All I know is that this is yet another eventually-platinum release from the king of the hip hop/pop crossover genre and once again, everyone else needs to play catch up.  Drake is by himself right now.  He actually released a song with Kanye West and Jay-Z last month, and then TOOK THEM OUT OF THE SONG before putting “Pop Style” on this album.  And guess what?  This version is better!  It’s Drizzy’s world and we are all just here passing by.

I leave you with this bit from Chris D’Elia, because it is spot on.  I have never felt bad for someone that has so much going for him like I do when I listen to Drake.  He is a bizarre dude, but it works.  Love the Drake (shout out to Seinfeld).  Always going to love the Drake, unapologetically.  VIEWS is one of the must-haves going into the summertime.  Go cop it somewhere that isn’t Apple Music and get down.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAL_HP1yE_c]

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Breaking Down the Upcoming NHL Draft Lottery

Breaking Down the Upcoming NHL Draft Lottery

(Editor’s Note: Eric, a reader of the site and a friend, inquired about contributing to The Open Field. He knows so much about hockey and the NHL, and wanted to provide insight on the upcoming draft. If you ever want to contribute an article or even write for us on a regular basis, visit the contact us page for information. Based on this article’s quality, I would expect more from Eric in the future here at The Open Field….)


 

With the NHL playoffs already underway and full of excitement, many people do not realize another hockey event is taking place this Saturday that has fans excited.

The NHL Draft Lottery.

Now before you think I’m joking trying to compare playoff hockey to 14 non-playoff teams finding out their draft order, hear me out. First off, not one Canadian team made the playoffs this season which means every single one of them has a chance of getting the first overall pick. In fact, there is a 68.5 percent chance that a Canadian team gets it. It’s well known that hockey has the smallest following of the Big Four sports in the United States until playoffs come around. Compare that with a country where some people consider hockey a religion and people riot in the street after losing in the Stanley Cup finals. It wouldn’t surprise me if the lottery has more viewers than Game 2 of an Eastern Conference Semifinals series. So why is this draft lottery so special?

 

Auston Matthews.

 

Last year we had the McEichel sweepstakes with two franchise players being talked about leading up to the draft. This time, there has been a consensus number one overall pick since last year’s draft, Auston Matthews. Matthews looks to be only the seventh American drafted first overall since 1963 and the first since Patrick Kane in 2007; which is fitting seeing as he broke Kane’s National Development Team record for points in a season during his last season with the team. What really sets him apart is the decision he made last summer to skip playing juniors or college hockey to play professionally overseas and I loved it. Here is a 17-year-old kid who knew he was ready to play with the big boys and THAT HE DID, finishing tenth in scoring in the Swiss top league. His coach has made it clear that Matthews is ready to be a first line center in the NHL.

 

With all this being said about him being an elite player, this lottery will have an effect on what his career will be, depending on who wins. Below are each team’s odds of winning and the places I’d like to see Matthews end up.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs – 20%

Edmonton Oilers – 13.5%

Vancouver Canucks – 11.5%

Columbus Blue Jackets – 9.5%

Calgary Flames – 8.5%

Winnipeg Jets – 7.5%

Arizona Coyotes – 6.5%

Buffalo Sabres – 6%

Montreal Canadiens – 5%

Colorado Avalanche – 3.5%

New Jersey Devils – 3%

Ottawa Senators – 2.5%

Carolina Hurricanes – 2%

Boston Bruins – 1%


nhl-2014-nhl-draft

Where I want him to end up

Maple Leafs

With the rumors of Steven Stamkos coming to Toronto this offseason, the potential of those two on the top two lines would be fun to watch. As a Bruins fan, even I wouldn’t mind seeing Bergeron and Krejci battle against Stamkos and Matthews for the next couple seasons.

 

Arizona Coyotes

This would be the feel good story of the draft. The Coyotes recently purchased their AHL affiliate in order to relocate them to Tucson and rebuild the brand of hockey in the desert. What better way to help that then by drafting a franchise player who grew up in Arizona watching the team that drafts him. Add in the young talent already on their roster with Max Domi and Anthony Duclair and Auston Matthews gets to grow the game he loves in the city he loves.

 

Buffalo Sabres

If the Sabres go back to back years drafting Jack Eichel and then Auston Matthews then that might be a more interesting combo than Stamkos and Matthews. An 18-year-old and 19-year-old starting their careers together should get hockey fans excited to watch them develop as teammates in Buffalo, as well as for Team USA.

 

Bonus Section- Edmonton, please don’t win the lottery

 

The Oilers have had four first overall picks in the last six years including last year and they are still at the bottom of the standings. I would hate to see Matthews end up there and not play for successful teams because they do not have top tier defensemen. Connor McDavid was supposed to be a savior this year and even he could not help them granted he was injured for part of the season. The only shining hope if Edmonton wins is that they might be open to trading the pick to get other players and lower draft picks.

 

For all hockey fans, diehards or casual, I would highly suggest tuning into the draft lottery this Saturday whether it’s for your team getting the first pick or just to see where Auston Matthews ends up.

 

by Eric

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i love this cardinals pick more than my entire family

i love this cardinals pick more than my entire family

Writers note: just kidding about the title – but i REALLY like this pick.

The Cardinals are a funny iteration of whatever the fuck pro football is supposed to mean these days. In most circles I suppose that…isn’t that much.

However : the Cardinals are (SHOCKINGLY) coached by a man.

What’s really shocking about, their coach, Bruce Arians? Legitimately fucking everything.

First and foremost :

635853732894894223-arians

The salt and pepper goatee on its own is ballsy given the hackneyed attempts at personal hygiene most NFL coaches grant themselves despite constant exposure to the media – so this tidbit of personal care relative to his location outside of the main conscience of football America makes him near a character of Bernie Sanders obscurity, kind of. But mostly – he’s wearing a beret. A fucking beret. We’re talking about a wildly successful, prescient seeming, revolutionary talking FOOTBALL COACH WEARING A FUCKING BERET.

What a time, what a time.

Also this :

WelterNewMAIN

Don’t know her name. Don’t know if she’s still on the staff. It literally doesn’t matter. All I know is that sometime during the Ray Rice fallout Burce Arians – HC of the Arizona Cardinals – decided to hire a woman to help coach is NFL squad. I’m 77% sure it was during precamp (pre-season, before games start, etc) and that she was on a monthly contract – but does that really matter? Probably, probably not. Part of me wants to call the whole thing inflammatory – but I can’t, because no else bothered to hire a lady during the time period. This is probably most obviously a publicity stunt given his more recent comments on “the moms of america” – but then again we live in a country that largely believes Sandy Hook didn’t happen – what the fuck are ya gonna do? Anyway – point is – lying or not, he at least feigned giving a shit amid what was briefly the largest fallout of league conduct in NFL history. S/O brady’s detached nutsack.

_____

Know why I really really really really love Bruce Arians? The Cardinals (under his direction) are the Patriots of the west coast. I don’t have the geographical proximity to hate the cardinals – they also can’t keep a fucking QB healthy, so here we are. Anyway – the point lies in their propensity to take players who have “issues” or are “troubled” which is speak for the only reason crusty white dick bags like fat illiterate pill head chris berman still have a job. It’s unbelievable – and I feel the argument that THE ONLY THING (S) these dudes who’ve known they’re going to be or at the least have a shot to be high draft picks for like 8-14 months have to do is not kill anyone, touch a woman, or smoke weed. It’s justified, because it’s a simple fucking couple of things not to do in x no. of weeks or months pre draft, rookie camp, preseason and pay day – but really becomes obscene when clowns like stupid fat berman and cris “fall guy” carter get to talk about FUCKING ETHICAL PROPENSITIES.

As ever – this is the world we operate in, and as much as I hate to admit it – there are teams who’ve followed the Patriots model in taking fellas like this into a homey system that works – “they have problems everywhere else, but not here” – kinda scenario.

You saw it with Darnell Docket like six years ago but more importantly are seeing it with this dude, who apparently had character issues via weed smoke.

1669847-bigthumbnail

No mom and dad? Raised by grandparents? top 10 safety. There’s obviously unnatural talent in the scenario – but NO ONE ELSE would touch him coming out.

___

Who did the Cardinals take tonight. Robert. Fucking. Nkemdiche.

20140828_ajw_sx1_143.JPG.0

I don’t know much about him – save that he was the no.1 pick in the nation coming out of high school – he fell out of a window pretty recently, and he wants to buy a panther before setting up his mom with his first paycheck. Fuck it. Fuck the announcer clowns. Fuck perception. I’ll trust the guy publicly wearing the the beret.

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TOP SHELF BOOKS — Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets

TOP SHELF BOOKS — Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets

What book did Michael H. just finish reading?

lll

Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets
by David Simon

As you may have gathered, most of the books I read are fiction, because fiction is awesome and if you disagree you are an untrustworthy scamp. But occasionally a nonfiction book will catch my eye(s) and then it will take over my life. Jon Krakauer, Mary Karr, and Bill Bryson have all had this effect on me. The book you see above, however, ripped open my chest, scooped out my beating heart, played a game of hacky sack with it, sent it through one of those ovens you see at Quiznos, alternated dunking it in scalding hot and icy cold tubs of water, and then put it back in and closed up my chest with just enough life left in it to continue pumping.

If you’ve heard of David Simon it is probably due to The Wire – which Simon created and wrote – which is usually held up as the greatest TV drama ever (I subscribe to this school of thought). You probably didn’t know he started as a Baltimore Sun reporter working the local murder beat. In 1988, he took a year sabbatical from The Sun to embed with the homicide detectives in the Baltimore Police Department. That last sentence doesn’t even make sense in today’s world. How could a newspaper reporter take year off and have his job waiting for him when he got back? What on Earth was the Police Commissioner thinking letting a journo have unlimited access to detectives and their cases and their methods? Simon himself admitted in the appendix of the book that he had no idea how it all came together; only that it was worth it and he wouldn’t change it for anything.

Simon is a fantastic observer, and maybe even a better describer of what he has observed. You can imagine – there are some things in the book you couldn’t possibly imagine – what the writer was was exposed to following around murder police for a year. There were over 230 murders in Baltimore in 1988; Simon lays out quite a few in excruciating detail and background. It is nearly impossible to stop reading this book.

More than the description of killings, Simon has an unparalleled ability to relay to the reader who these homicide detectives are. Not just their methodologies or strategies, but why they do these things, what internal conflicts are raging, what drives them to hunt down some of the worst our species has to offer, day after day without end. The emersion is so complete that readers will feel like they could walk up to one of these detectives and engage in the inside jokes, throw out nicknames, and goad the new guy without any hesitation. Worden (“the last true detective in America”) and McLarney and Edgerton and Landsman and Pellegrini and Brown and Brown and Kincaid and Waltemeyer and Garvey and Nolan became so real to me that it is hard to convince myself I have never actually met them (I ripped those names off by memory; I am horrible with character names).

The morbid sense of humor, the walls built around their feelings and emotions, the coffee and booze and cigarettes – all the things necessary for these guys to stay sane, to hold onto a little bit of humanity, to see a future that is worth living – are all described so thoroughly and honestly that you can’t see how anyone could survive as a homicide detective without using each and every one of these safeguards or medications.

And then there is the cold reality of life on the killing streets.Of the countless souls that are just trying to make it to the end of the day without being murdered, or seeing a family member or friend murdered. Simon drives home the bleakness and nihilism of the Baltimore streets by pulling back the curtain and exposing the dark and malevolent underbelly of humanity. Sociopaths run rampant, “brain-deads” kill each other over video games, “simple motherfuckers” beat their girlfriends to death over nothing. And children are ignored and left to fend for themselves or, unthinkably, raped and murdered and discarded in back alleys or empty rowhouses.

It’s this last bit that almost made me put the book down for good. It hangs so heavy around your neck and destroys so quickly your hope for humanity that you are compelled to run away from the facts, from the truth of things that really happen to other people. That happen to innocent and defenseless children whose only sin was to be born in a horrible place at a horrible time. I can’t bring myself to divulge any of the details of these specific cases covered in the book (one solved, one still open to this day), but it’s debilitating to consider that these are just a few homicides from one year from one American city. Ignorance is bliss indeed.
I encourage you to read this book. Besides the fact that it is so well written and so thoroughly researched and so accurate (the BPD was given the manuscript before publishing and no changes were made), it makes real a world most of us have not one iota of a clue about. It will bring about immense respect and awe for what cops, and especially homicide detectives, have to deal with on a daily basis. And it will also expose you to the realities of life experienced daily by fellow Americans; not some “others” in far off third-world countries, but right here in our own gleaming metropolises. These horrors and grotesqueries will take up residence in your mind and nightmares. And you will try to refuse to acknowledge that they are real; that people, every single day, walk through a hell that rivals anything Dante could have imagined. And you will finish the book because these detectives feel like friends, and because it is the least you can do for the victims: bear witness.

 

by Michael H.

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Causeway Street — Episode 40

Causeway Street — Episode 40

After being down 2-0 to the Hawks, the Celtics respond in Games 3 & 4 back in Boston to even their best of seven series 2-2. We recap one of the best weekends in C’s playoff history as Brad Stevens tweaked his starting lineup while Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart had career postseason performances in each win. We also preview Game 5 down in Atlanta, and does Jae Crowder need to score in order to get a win on the road? Plus we take a trip around the NBA as two key injuries could change the overall landscape out West going forward. All of this and much more in this episode of the Causeway Street Podcast.

 

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Why have the NBA Playoff’s been so bad?

Why have the NBA Playoff’s been so bad?

The NBA Playoffs have been a pretty big disappointment thus far. No hiding it or sugar coating it, it’s been pretty bad. Void of epic back-and-forth series, and filled with plenty of this:

So, as a result, Matt and Mikey took the time to break down a few things that have happened thus far in the NBA Playoffs. The categories are

  • Series that Disappointed the Most
  • Player that Disappointed
  • Biggest Surprise
  • What You are Looking Forward to Most in Round 2 

Without Further ado:


Series That Disappointed the Most

Matt: Dallas/OKC: The NBA had so much to benefit from the Dallas/OKC series. If Dallas won, or at least took it to 7, then the dominoes would start to fall. Durant rumors would coincide perfectly with the emergence of this season’s overachievers (Boston, Portland). Picture this scenario: Dallas upsets OKC and that same night Portland beats LA and Boston wins a game 7 in Atlanta. There are a few “what ifs” in that scenario but it actually looked plausible for a moment. Overnight, the Cs and Jailblazers become legitimate threats to steal KD in free agency. Instead, Westbrook had to do Westbrook things and absolutely smoke Carlisle and the boys. I thought this series was going to be competitive, it had upset written all over it. A genius coach helps an aging star make one final stand against the new kids on the block. It sounds too good to be true. And it was.

Mikey: Portland/LAC: I know it’s a little weird to say that one of the only series currently knotted at 2-2 has been the biggest disappointment, but this one certainly has IMO. Damian Lillard, whom I have lauded before, has disappointed me in the sense that he hasn’t taken a strangle-hold on the series thus far. I expected a playoff version of Dame and McCollum to be world beaters and announce their presence by demanding we watch them via 30+ point shooting outbursts. That just has not been the case. Couple THAT with a less-than-100% Blake Griffin (who can barely get off the ground and is now injured), Chris Paul announcing he will miss the remainder of the playoffs with a broken hand, and Deandre Jordan’s inadequacy from the line… and you have a horrible series. Oh, and Austin Rivers will be the point guard going forward. Blazers in 6, and good riddance to the Clippers as we know them.

 

Player that Disappointed:

(c) Nick Turchiaro
(c) Nick Turchiaro

Mikey: Demar Derozan: I mean, come on man.

FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG BLKPG TOPG PPG
2015-16 Regular Season 45% 34% 85% 4.5 4 0.3 2.2 23.5
2015-16 Postseason 30% 0% 73% 3.5 3.3 0 3.3 13.3

What these stats show me is that Demar Derozan of the Toronto Raptors is not a playoff guy. That’s going to cost him SO much money if this does not turn around QUICK. The biggest issue, other than Paul George being on him every night, is his inability to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Couple that with a cold streak from outside (see 0% from 3 this postseason) and you have a recipe for disaster. I like Derozan, I don’t like the fact he is playing himself out of money. He needs to pick it up, get Toronto to the next round, and get to the damn basket in the process.

 

Matt: Steve Kerr. Do former players count here? Why not. Steph Curry is not injury prone however, he has injury history. When he got hurt in game 1 of this series, I wasn’t really concerned. I thought, “Hey, the Dubs will just rest him until the semis, he’ll come back fresh and ready to go.” But then he played. And he got hurt, again. Bad. Steve Kerr and the Warriors management have all the responsibility for this one. Golden State would have beaten this excuse for a playoff team with or without Curry. No one actually gave Houston a chance even when Curry went down in the opener. Therefore, there was no reason to play Curry. The whole “rhythm” theory…simply stupid. I’m not a gambling man but I would be willing to bet that the best shooter in league history would find a way to get his rhythm back after he sat a handful of games. Steve Kerr threw away his title hopes because he wanted to beat the Rockets in 5 instead of 6. Let that sink in.

 

Biggest Surprise 

Matt: Brad Stevens Coaching: The coaching during the game 4 Cs/Hawks series. Not too many coaches would think to put the 6’4” Marcus Smart on 6’8” Paul Millsap. But Brad Stevens did and it won the Celtics game 4. Smart shut down Millsap in the 4th and OT, which essentially stymied the entire Atlanta offense. Stevens also had the gall to put Jerekbo in the starting lineup and it has paid off immensely. The two final plays in regulation of game 4 were representative of the way this series has shifted. Stevens drew up a simple, yet effective Smart/Thomas pick and roll, defying conventional pick and roll personnel protocol. Then Budenholzer drew up a play that saw Korver run off an off the ball P&R. The first option failed and it looked as though Budenholzer forgot to implement a second option. Stevens has made adjustments reminiscent of Pop, Carlisle and Rivers. I knew he was good, but this good? Wow. Game 5 will be one for the ages.

Mikey: Charlotte Hornets: I was praying to the many faced God that the Celtics wound up with Charlotte instead of Atlanta in the first round as a fan of Boston myself. I thought that Charlotte, filled with the best college basketball players Jordan could find, was a cake walk. I was really really really wrong about this team. They have something pretty special down in Charlotte. The energy in the building, the electricity that Kemba Walker plays with, and the surprising emergence of Frank Kaminsky have the buzz really…. buzzing. If they get past Miami, which is looking like a possibility, they have a chance at defeating whomever emerges from the Indiana/Toronto matchup. I like the East for its parity this year.

 

What am I looking forward to most in Round 2:

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Matt: Kevin Durant: KD has a little nastiness in his game. He is one of the few players in the league who doesn’t really care if he is best friends with you. I like that, too. So for this series, I took an online class under Dr. Bill Simmons in Body Language 104. If KD is the competitive MVP we know him to be, then OKC management can take a breath. It means he is dedicated to the club and focused solely on winning a championship for this season. Yet, if he is even remotely friendly/respectful to Kawhi, then it’s time to hit the panic button. The Spurs are my sleeper pick for KD this summer. He has college roots in Texas and if you want to win a title, what better place to go? A competitive KD is one who is dedicated to OKC. At least for another year. Still, watch for how KD responds to The Claw and his defensive prowess. If this series plays in favor of the Spurs (which I think it will), then my eyes will be even more glued to KD. During game 7, when it is clear that the Spurs will take the series, Russ will be devastated. KD on the other hand, may walk off with a demeanor that does not quite match his superstar teammates. If that is the case, then get ready for a wild NBA offseason.

Mikey: Steph Curry: Okay, so I am not a Steph Curry fan. I just don’t like him. I don’t know what it is, if you ask me to explain it I will ask you why you don’t like carrots or whatever weird shit you don’t like personally. I thought Patrick Beverly would do some shady shit and Steph would end up injured, and it half happened that way. Now, the biggest storyline in professional sports for the next 2 weeks that is not about deflated footballs will be the knee of Steph Curry and when he can return to action. I think they can win a difficult series with Portland (or the corpse of LAC) but they need him back for whoever comes out of that unbelievable OKC/Spurs series that should be one for the ages. In 2 weeks time we will see Steph again according to team doctors and all initial reports. But, the most intriguing thing to watch moving forward through these playoffs is whether or not we will actually see the Steph we saw in the regular season again.

by Mikey and Matt

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